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Story of the Bible Animals: [300 Illustrated Animals]

Story of the Bible Animals: [300 Illustrated Animals]

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Story of the Bible Animals: [300 Illustrated Animals]

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Apr 8, 2015


Owing to the different conditions of time, language, country, and race under which the various books of the Holy Scriptures were written, it is impossible that they should be rightly understood at the present day without some study of the customs and manners of Eastern peoples, as well as of the countries in which they lived.
The Oriental character of the scriptural writings causes them to abound with metaphors and symbols taken from the common life of the time.
They contain allusions to the trees, flowers, and herbage, the creeping things of the earth, the fishes of the sea, the birds of the air, and the beasts which abode with man or dwelt in the deserts and forests.

Unless, therefore, we understand these writings as those understood them for whom they were written, it is evident that we shall misinterpret instead of rightly comprehending them.
The field which is laid open to us is so large that only one department of Natural History—namely, Zoology—can be treated in this work, although it is illustrated by many references to other branches of Natural History, to the physical geography of Palestine, Egypt, and Syria, the race-character of the inhabitants, and historical parallels.

The importance of understanding the nature, habits, and uses of the animals which are constantly mentioned in the Bible, cannot be overrated as a means of elucidating the Scriptures, and without this knowledge we shall not only miss the point of innumerable passages of the Old and New Testaments, but the words of our Lord Himself will often be totally misinterpreted, or at least lose part of their significance.

The object of the present work is therefore, to take in its proper succession, every creature whose name is given in the Scriptures, and to supply so much of its history as will enable the reader to understand all the passages in which it is mentioned.

Author Biography:

Life and works:
Early life and ordination

Wood was born in London, son of surgeon John Freeman Wood and Juliana Lisetta, and educated at home, at Ashbourne grammar school and Merton College, Oxford (B.A., 1848, M.A., 1851); also at Christ Church, where he worked for some time in the anatomical museum under Sir Henry Acland. In 1852 he became curate of the parish of St Thomas the Martyr, Oxford, and in 1854 was ordained priest; he also took up the post of chaplain to the Boatmen's Floating Chapel at Oxford. Among other benefices which he held was for a time chaplain to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. In 1878 Wood settled in Upper Norwood, where he lived until his death.

In 1854, Wood gave up his curacy to devote himself to writing on natural history, becoming a well-known parson-naturalist of the Victorian era. However, he continued to take on priestly work, as in 1858 he accepted a readership at Christ Church, Newgate Street, and was assistant-chaplain to St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, from 1856 until 1862. Between 1868 and 1876 he was precentor to the Canterbury Diocesan Choral Union.
After 1876 he devoted himself to the production of books and lecturing on zoology, which he illustrated by drawing on a black-board or on large sheets of white paper with coloured crayons. These "sketch lectures," as he called them, were very popular, and made his name widely known both in Great Britain and in the United States.
Wood gave occasional lectures from 1856. In 1879, however, he began lecturing as a second profession, and continued to lecture steadily until 1888 in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. He delivered the Lowell Lectures in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1

Apr 8, 2015

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Story of the Bible Animals - J. G. Wood


The Lion

Frequent mention of the Lion in the Scriptures—The Lion employed as an emblem in the Bible—Similarity of the African and Asiatic species—The chief characteristics of the Lion—its strength, activity, and mode of seizing its prey—The Lion hunt.

Of all the undomesticated animals of Palestine, none is mentioned so frequently as the Lion. This may appear the more remarkable, because for many years the Lion has been extinct in Palestine. The leopard, the wolf, the jackal, and the hyæna, still retain their place in the land, although their numbers are comparatively few; but the Lion has vanished completely out of the land. The reason for this disappearance is twofold, first, the thicker population; and second, the introduction of firearms.

No animal is less tolerant of human society than the Lion. In the first place, it dreads the very face of man, and as a rule, whenever it sees a man will slink away and hide itself. There are, of course, exceptional cases to this rule. Sometimes a Lion becomes so old and stiff, his teeth are so worn, and his endurance so slight, that he is unable to chase his usual prey, and is obliged to seek for other means of subsistence. In an unpopulated district, he would simply be starved to death, but when his lot is cast in the neighbourhood of human beings, he is perforce obliged to become a man-eater. Even in that case, a Lion will seldom attack a man, unless he should be able to do so unseen, but will hang about the villages, pouncing on the women as they come to the wells for water, or upon the little children as they stray from their parents, and continually shifting his quarters lest he should be assailed during his sleep. The Lion requires a very large tract of country for his maintenance, and the consequence is, that in proportion as the land is populated does the number of Lions decrease.

Firearms are the special dread of the Lion. In the first place, the Lion, like all wild beasts, cannot endure fire, and the flash of the gun terrifies him greatly. Then, there is the report, surpassing even his roar in resonance; and lastly, there is the unseen bullet, which seldom kills him at once, but mostly drives him to furious anger by the pain of his wound, yet which he does not dread nearly so much as the harmless flash and report. There is another cause of the Lion's banishment from the Holy Land. It is well known that to attract any wild beast or bird to some definite spot, all that is required is to provide them with a suitable and undisturbed home, and a certainty of food. Consequently, the surest method of driving them away is to deprive them of both these essentials. Then the Lion used to live in forests, which formerly stretched over large tracts of ground, but which have long since been cut down, thus depriving the Lion of its home, while the thick population and the general use of firearms have deprived him of his food. In fact, the Lion has been driven out of Palestine, just as the wolf has been extirpated from England.

But, in the olden times, Lions must have been very plentiful. There is scarcely a book in the Bible, whether of the Old or New Testaments, whether historical or prophetical, that does not contain some mention of this terrible animal; sometimes describing the actions of individual Lions, but mostly using the word as an emblem of strength and force, whether used for a good purpose or abused for a bad one.



There are several varieties of Lion, which may be reduced to two, namely, the African and the Asiatic Lion. It is almost certain, however, that these animals really are one and the same species, and that the trifling differences which exist between an African and an Asiatic Lion, are not sufficient to justify a naturalist in considering them to be distinct species. The habits of both are identical, modified, as is sure to be the case, by the difference of locality; but then, such variations in habit are continually seen in animals confessedly of the same species, which happen to be placed in different conditions of climate and locality.

That it was once exceedingly plentiful in Palestine is evident, from a very cursory knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. It is every where mentioned as a well-known animal, equally familiar and dreaded. When the disobedient prophet was killed by the Lion near Bethel, the fact seemed not to have caused any surprise in the neighbourhood. When the people came out to rescue the body of the prophet, they wondered much because the Lion was standing by the fallen man, but had not torn him, and had left the ass unhurt. But that a Lion should have killed a man seems to have been an event which was not sufficiently rare to be surprising.

We will now proceed to those characteristics of the Lion which bear especial reference to the Scriptures.

In the first place, size for size, the Lion is one of the strongest of beasts.


Moreover, the strength of the Lion is equally distributed over the body and limbs, giving to the animal an easy grace of movement which is rare except with such a structure. A full-grown Lion cannot only knock down and kill, but can carry away in its mouth, an ordinary ox; and one of these terrible animals has been known to pick up a heifer in its mouth, and to leap over a wide ditch still carrying its burden. Another Lion carried a two-year old heifer, and was chased for five hours by mounted farmers, so that it must have traversed a very considerable distance. Yet, in the whole of this long journey, the legs of the heifer had only two or three times touched the ground.

It kills man, and comparatively small animals, such as deer and antelopes, with a blow of its terrible paw; and often needs to give no second blow to cause the death of its victim. The sharp talons are not needed to cause death, for the weight of the blow is sufficient for that purpose.

When the hunter pursues it with dogs, after the usual fashion, there is often a great slaughter among them, especially among those that are inexperienced in the chase of the Lion. Urged by their instinctive antipathy, the dogs rush forward to the spot where the Lion awaits them, and old hounds bay at him from a safe distance, while the young and inexperienced among them are apt to convert the sham attack into a real one. Their valour meets with a poor reward, for a few blows from the Lion's terrible paws send his assailants flying in all directions, their bodies streaming with blood, and in most cases a fatal damage inflicted, while more than one unfortunate dog lies fairly crushed by the weight of a paw laid with apparent carelessness upon its body. There is before me a Lion's skin, a spoil of one of these animals shot by the celebrated sportsman, Gordon Cumming. Although the skin lies flat upon the floor, and the paws are nothing but the skin and talons, the weight of each paw is very considerable, and always surprises those who hear it fall on the floor.

There are several Hebrew words which are used for the Lion, but that which signifies the animal in its adult state is derived from an Arabic word signifying strength; and therefore the Lion is called the Strong-one, just as the Bat is called the Night-flier. No epithet could be better deserved, for the Lion seems to be a very incarnation of strength, and, even when dead, gives as vivid an idea of concentrated power as when it was living. And, when the skin is stripped from the body, the tremendous muscular development never fails to create a sensation of awe. The muscles of the limbs, themselves so hard as to blunt the keen-edged knives employed by a dissecter, are enveloped in their glittering sheaths, playing upon each other like well-oiled machinery, and terminating in tendons seemingly strong as steel, and nearly as impervious to the knife. Not until the skin is removed can any one form a conception of the enormously powerful muscles of the neck, which enable the Lion to lift the weighty prey which it kills, and to convey it to a place of security.


Although usually unwilling to attack an armed man, it is one of the most courageous animals in existence when it is driven to fight, and if its anger is excited, it cares little for the number of its foes, or the weapons with which they are armed. Even the dreaded firearms lose their terrors to an angry Lion, while a Lioness, who fears for the safety of her young, is simply the most terrible animal in existence. We know how even a hen will fight for her chickens, and how she has been known to beat off the fox and the hawk by the reckless fury of her attack. It may be easily imagined, therefore, that a Lioness actuated by equal courage, and possessed of the terrible weapons given to her by her Creator, would be an animal almost too formidable for the conception of those who have not actually witnessed the scene of a Lioness defending her little ones.

The roar of the Lion is another of the characteristics for which it is celebrated. There is no beast that can produce a sound that could for a moment be mistaken for the roar of the Lion. The Lion has a habit of stooping his head towards the ground when he roars, so that the terrible sound rolls along like thunder, and reverberates in many an echo in the far distance. Owing to this curious habit, the roar can be heard at a very great distance, but its locality is rendered uncertain, and it is often difficult to be quite sure whether the Lion is to the right or the left of the hearer.

There are few sounds which strike more awe than the Lion's roar. Even at the Zoological Gardens, where the hearer knows that he is in perfect safety, and where the Lion is enclosed in a small cage faced with strong iron bars, the sound of the terrible roar always has a curious effect upon the nerves. It is not exactly fear, because the hearer knows that he is safe; but it is somewhat akin to the feeling of mixed awe and admiration with which one listens to the crashing thunder after the lightning has sped its course. If such be the case when the Lion is safely housed in a cage, and is moreover so tame that even if he did escape, he would be led back by the keeper without doing any harm, the effect of the roar must indeed be terrific when the Lion is at liberty, when he is in his own country, and when the shades of evening prevent him from being seen even at a short distance.


In the dark, there is no animal so invisible as a Lion. Almost every hunter has told a similar story—of the Lion's approach at night, of the terror displayed by dogs and cattle as he drew near, and of the utter inability to see him, though he was so close that they could hear his breathing. Sometimes, when he has crept near an encampment, or close to a cattle inclosure, he does not proceed any farther lest he should venture within the radius illumined by the rays of the fire. So he crouches closely to the ground, and, in the semi-darkness, looks so like a large stone, or a little hillock, that any one might pass close to it without perceiving its real nature. This gives the opportunity for which the Lion has been watching, and in a moment he strikes down the careless straggler, and carries off his prey to the den. Sometimes, when very much excited, he accompanies the charge with a roar, but, as a general fact, he secures his prey in silence.

The roar of the Lion is very peculiar. It is not a mere outburst of sound, but a curiously graduated performance. No description of the Lion's roar is so vivid, so true, and so graphic as that of Gordon Cumming: One of the most striking things connected with the Lion is his voice, which is extremely grand and peculiarly striking. It consists at times of a low, deep moaning, repeated five or six times, ending in faintly audible sighs. At other times he startles the forest with loud, deep-toned, solemn roars, repeated five or six times in quick succession, each increasing in loudness to the third or fourth, when his voice dies away in five or six low, muffled sounds, very much resembling distant thunder. As a general rule, Lions roar during the night, their sighing moans commencing as the shades of evening envelop the forest, and continuing at intervals throughout the night. In distant and secluded regions, however, I have constantly heard them roaring loudly as late as nine or ten o'clock on a bright sunny morning. In hazy and rainy weather they are to be heard at every hour in the day, but their roar is subdued.

Lastly, we come to the dwelling-place of the Lion. This animal always fixes its residence in the depths of some forest, through which it threads its stealthy way with admirable certainty. No fox knows every hedgerow, ditch, drain, and covert better than the Lion knows the whole country around his den. Each Lion seems to have his peculiar district, in which only himself and his family will be found. These animals seem to parcel out the neighbourhood among themselves by a tacit law like that which the dogs of eastern countries have imposed upon themselves, and which forbids them to go out of the district in which they were born. During the night he traverses his dominions; and, as a rule, he retires to his den as soon as the sun is fairly above the horizon. Sometimes he will be in wait for prey in the broadest daylight, but his ordinary habits are nocturnal, and in the daytime he is usually asleep in his secret dwelling-place.

We will now glance at a few of the passages in which the Lion is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, selecting those which treat of its various characteristics.

The terrible strength of the Lion is the subject of repeated reference. In the magnificent series of prophecies uttered by Jacob on his deathbed, the power of the princely tribe of Judah is predicted under the metaphor of a Lion—the beginning of its power as a Lion's whelp, the fulness of its strength as an adult Lion, and its matured establishment in power as the old Lion that couches himself and none dares to disturb him. Then Solomon, in the Proverbs, speaks of the Lion as the strongest among beasts, and that turneth not away for any.

Solomon also alludes to its courage in the same book, Prov. xxviii. 1, in the well-known passage, The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion. And, in 2 Sam. xxiii. 20, the courage of Benaiah, one of the mighty three of David's army, is specially honoured, because he fought and killed a Lion single-handed, and because he conquered two lion-like men of Moab. David, their leader, had also distinguished himself, when a mere keeper of cattle, by pursuing and killing a Lion that had come to plunder his herd. In the same book of Samuel which has just been quoted (xvii. 10), the valiant men are metaphorically described as having the hearts of Lions.

The ferocity of this terrible beast of prey is repeatedly mentioned, and the Psalms are full of such allusions, the fury and anger of enemies being compared to the attacks of the Lion.

Many passages refer to the Lion's roar, and it is remarkable that the Hebrew language contains several words by which the different kind of roar is described. One word, for example, represents the low, deep, thunder-like roar of the Lion seeking its prey, and which has already been mentioned. This is the word which is used in Amos iii. 4, Will a lion roar in the forest when he hath no prey? and in this passage the word which is translated as Lion signifies the animal when full grown and in the prime of life. Another word is used to signify the sudden exulting cry of the Lion as it leaps upon its victim. A third is used for the angry growl with which a Lion resents any endeavour to deprive it of its prey, a sound with which we are all familiar, on a miniature scale, when we hear a cat growling over a mouse which she has just caught. The fourth term signifies the peculiar roar uttered by the young Lion after it has ceased to be a cub and before it has attained maturity. This last term is employed in Jer. li. 38, "They shall roar together like lions; they shall yell as lions' whelps," in which passage two distinct words are used, one signifying the roar of the Lion when searching after prey, and the other the cry of the young Lions.

The prophet Amos, who in his capacity of herdsman was familiar with the wild beasts, from which he had to guard his cattle, makes frequent mention of the Lion, and does so with a force and vigour that betoken practical experience. How powerful is this imagery, The lion hath roared; who will not fear? The Lord God hath spoken; who can but prophesy? Here we have the picture of the man himself, the herdsman and prophet, who had trembled many a night, as the Lions drew nearer and nearer; and who heard the voice of the Lord, and his lips poured out prophecy. Nothing can be more complete than the parallel which he has drawn. It breathes the very spirit of piety, and may bear comparison even with the prophecies of Isaiah for its simple grandeur.

It is remarkable how the sacred writers have entered into the spirit of the world around them, and how closely they observed the minutest details even in the lives of the brute beasts. There is a powerful passage in the book of Job, iv. 11, The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, in which the writer betrays his thorough knowledge of the habits of the animal, and is aware that the usual mode of a Lion's death is through hunger, in consequence of his increasing inability to catch prey.

The nocturnal habits of the Lion and its custom of lying in wait for prey are often mentioned in the Scriptures. The former habit is spoken of in that familiar and beautiful passage in the Psalms (civ. 20), Thou makest darkness, and it is night; wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young Lions roar after their prey; and seek their meat from God. The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.


An animal so destructive among the flocks and herds could not be allowed to carry out its depredations unchecked, and as we have already seen, the warfare waged against it has been so successful, that the Lions have long ago been fairly extirpated in Palestine. The usual method of capturing or killing the Lion was by pitfalls or nets, to both of which there are many references in the Scriptures.

The mode of hunting the Lion with nets was identical with that which is practised in India at the present time. The precise locality of the Lion's dwelling-place having been discovered, a circular wall of net is arranged round it, or if only a few nets can be obtained, they are set in a curved form, the concave side being towards the Lion. They then send dogs into the thicket, hurl stones and sticks at the den, shoot arrows into it, fling burning torches at it, and so irritate and alarm the animal that it rushes against the net, which is so made that it falls down and envelopes the animal in its folds. If the nets be few, the drivers go to the opposite side of the den, and induce the Lion to escape in the direction where he sees no foes, but where he is sure to run against the treacherous net. Other large and dangerous animals were also captured by the same means.


Another and more common, because an easier and a cheaper method was, by digging a deep pit, covering the mouth with a slight covering of sticks and earth, and driving the animal upon the treacherous covering. It is an easier method than the net, because after the pit is once dug, the only trouble lies in throwing the covering over its mouth. But, it is not so well adapted for taking beasts alive, as they are likely to be damaged, either by the fall into the pit, or by the means used in getting them out again. Animals, therefore, that are caught in pits are generally, though not always, killed before they are taken out. The net, however, envelops the animal so perfectly, and renders it so helpless, that it can be easily bound and taken away. The hunting net is very expensive, and requires a large staff of men to work it, so that none but a rich man could use it in hunting.

The passages in which allusion is made to the use of the pitfall in hunting are too numerous to be quoted, and it will be sufficient to mention one or two passages, such as those wherein the Psalmist laments that his enemies have hidden for him their net in a pit, and that the proud have digged pits for him.

Lions that were taken in nets seem to have been kept alive in dens, either as mere curiosities, or as instruments of royal vengeance. Such seems to have been the object of the Lions which were kept by Darius, into whose den Daniel was thrown, by royal command, and which afterwards killed his accusers when thrown into the same den. It is plain that the Lions kept by Darius must have been exceedingly numerous, because they killed at once the accusers of Daniel, who were many in number, together with their wives and children, who, in accordance with the cruel custom of that age and country, were partakers of the same punishment with the real culprits. The whole of the first part of Ezek. xix. alludes to the custom of taking Lions alive and keeping them in durance afterwards.

Sometimes the Lion was hunted as a sport, but this amusement seems to have been restricted to the great men, on account of its expensive nature. Such hunting scenes are graphically depicted in the famous Nineveh sculptures, which represent the hunters pursuing their mighty game in chariots, and destroying them with arrows. Rude, and even conventional as are these sculptures, they have a spirit, a force, and a truthfulness, that prove them to have been designed by artists to whom the scene was a familiar one.


Upon the African Continent the Lion reigns supreme, monarch of the feline race.

Whatever may be said of the distinction between the Asiatic and African Lion, there seems to be scarcely sufficient grounds for considering the very slight differences a sufficient warrant for constituting separate species. From all accounts, it seems that the habits of all Lions are very similar, and that a Lion acts like a Lion whether found in Africa or Asia.


An old Boer, as the Dutch settlers of Southern Africa are called, gave me a most interesting account of an adventure with a Lion.

The man was a well-known hunter, and lived principally by the sale of ivory and skins. He was accustomed each year to make a trip into the game country, and traded with the Kaffirs, or native blacks, under very favorable auspices. His stock in trade consisted of guns and ammunition, several spans of fine oxen, some horses, and about a dozen dogs.

A Lion which appeared to have been roaming about the country happened to pass near this hunter's camp, and scenting the horses and oxen, evidently thought that the location would suit him for a short period. A dense wood situated about a mile from the camp afforded shelter, and this spot the Lion selected as a favorable position for his headquarters.

The hunter had not to wait for more than a day, before the suspicions which had been aroused by some broad footmarks, which he saw imprinted in the soil, were confirmed into a certainty that a large Lion was concealed near his residence.

It now became a question of policy whether the Boer should attack the Lion, or wait for the Lion to attack him. He thought it possible that the savage beast, having been warned off by the dogs, whose barking had been continued and furious during the night on which the Lion was supposed to have passed, might think discretion the better part of valor, and consequently would move farther on, in search of a less carefully guarded locality upon which to quarter himself. He determined, therefore, to wait, but to use every precaution against a night-surprise.

The Lion, however, was more than a match for the man; for during the second night a strong ox from his best span was quietly carried off, and, although there was some commotion among the dogs and cattle, it was then thought that the alarm had scared the Lion away.

The morning light, however, showed that the beast had leaped the fence which surrounded the camp, and, having killed the ox, had evidently endeavored to scramble over it again with the ox in his possession. The weight of the Lion and the ox had caused the stakes to give way, and the Lion had easily carried off his prey through the aperture.

The track of the Lion was immediately followed by the Boer, who took with him a negro and half a dozen of his best dogs. The tracks were easily seen, and the hunter had no difficulty in deciding that the Lion was in the wood previously mentioned. But this in itself was no great advance, for the place was overgrown with a dense thicket of thorn-bushes, creepers, and long grass, forming a jungle so thick and impenetrable that for a man to enter seemed almost impossible.

It was therefore agreed that the Boer should station himself on one side, while the negro went to the other side of the jungle, the dogs meanwhile being sent into the thicket.

This arrangement, it was hoped, would enable either the hunter or the negro to obtain a shot; for they concluded that the dogs, which were very courageous animals, would drive the Lion out of the bushes.

The excited barking of the dogs soon indicated that they had discovered the Lion, but they appeared to be unable to drive him from his stronghold; for, although they would scamper away every now and then, as though the enraged monster was chasing them, still they returned to bark at the same spot.

Both of the hunters fired several shots, with the hope that a stray bullet might find its way through the underwood to the heart of the savage beast, but a great quantity of ammunition was expended and no result achieved.

At length, as the dogs had almost ceased to bark, it was considered advisable to call them off. But all the whistling and shouting failed to recall more than two out of the six, and one of these was fearfully wounded. The others, it was afterwards found, had been killed by the Lion: a blow from his paw had sufficed to break the back or smash the skull of all which had come within his reach.

Thus the first attempt on the Lion was a total failure, and the hunter returned home lamenting the loss of his dogs, and during the night watched beside his enclosure; but the Lion did not pay him a second visit.

Early on the following evening, accompanied by the negro, he started afresh for the wood; and, having marked the spot from which the Lion had on the former occasion quitted the dense thorny jungle, the two hunters ascended a tree and watched during the whole night in the hope of obtaining a shot at the hated[38] marauder. But while they were paying the residence of the Lion a visit he favored the camp with a call, and this time, by way of variety, carried away a very valuable horse, which he conveyed to the wood, being wise enough to walk out and to return by a different path from that he had previously used, consequently avoiding the ambush prepared for him.

When the hunter returned to his camp, he was furious at this new loss, and determined upon a plan which, though dangerous, still appeared the most likely to insure the destruction of the ravenous monster.

This plan was to enter the wood alone, without attendant or dogs, and with noiseless, stealthy movements creep near enough to the Lion to obtain a shot.

Now, when we consider the difficulty of moving through thick bushes without making a noise, and remember the watchful habits of every member of the cat tribe, we may be certain that to surprise the Lion was a matter of extreme difficulty, and that the probability was that the hunter would meet with disaster.

At about ten o'clock on the morning after the horse-slaughter, the hunter started for the wood armed with a double-barrelled smooth-bore gun, and prepared to put forth his utmost skill in stalking his dangerous enemy.

Now, it is the nature of the Lion, when gorged, to sleep during the day; and if the animal has carried off any prey, it usually conceals itself near the remnants of its feast, to watch them until ready for another meal.

The hunter was aware of this, and laid his plans very judiciously. He approached the wood slowly and silently, found the track of the Lion, and began tracing it to find the spot where the remains of the horse could be seen.

He moved forward very slowly and with great caution, being soon surrounded by the thick bushes, the brightness of the plain also being succeeded by the deep gloom of the wood. Being an experienced hand at bush-craft, he was able to walk or crawl without causing either a dried stick to crack or a leaf to rustle, and he was aware that his progress was without noise; for the small birds, usually so watchful and alert, flew away only when he approached close to them, thus showing that their eyes, and not their ears, had made them conscious of the presence of man.

Birds and monkeys are the great obstacles in the bush to the success of a surprise, for the birds fly from tree to tree and whistle or twitter, whilst the monkeys chatter and grimace, expressing by all sorts of actions that a strange creature is approaching. When, therefore, the bushranger finds that birds and monkeys are unconscious of his presence until they see him, he may be satisfied that he has traversed the bush with tolerable silence, and has vanquished such dangerous betrayers of his presence as dried sticks and dead leaves.


The hunter had not proceeded thus more than fifty yards into the jungle, before he found indications that he was close upon the lair of the Lion: a strong leonine scent was noticeable, and part of the carcase of his horse was visible between the bushes. Instead, therefore, of advancing farther, as an incautious or inexperienced bushranger would have done, he crouched down behind a bush and remained motionless.

All animals are aware of the advantages of a surprise, and the cat tribe especially practise the ambuscading system. The hunter, therefore, determined, if possible, to turn the tables on the Lion, and to surprise, rather than to be surprised.

He concluded that the Lion, even when gorged with horseflesh, would not be so neglectful of his safety as to sleep with more than one eye closed, and that, although he had crept with great care through the bush, he had probably, from some slight sound, caused the Lion to be on the alert; if, therefore, he should approach the carcase of the horse, he might be pounced upon at once.

After remaining silent and watchful for several minutes, the hunter at length saw that an indistinctly-outlined object was moving behind some large broad-leafed plants at about twenty paces from him.

This object was the Lion. It was crouched behind some shrubs, attentively watching the bushes where the hunter was concealed. Its head only was clearly visible, the body being hidden by the foliage.

It was evident that the Lion was suspicious of something, but was not certain that anything had approached.

The hunter, knowing that this was a critical period for him, remained perfectly quiet. He did not like to risk a shot at the forehead of the Lion, for it would require a very sure aim to insure a death-wound, and the number of twigs and branches would be almost certain to deflect the bullet.

The Lion, after a careful inspection, appeared to be satisfied, and laid down behind the shrubs. The hunter then cocked both barrels of his heavy gun and turned the muzzle slowly around, so that he covered the spot on which the Lion lay, and shifted his position so as to be well placed for a shot.

The slight noise he made in moving, attracted the attention of the Lion, who immediately rose to his feet. A broadside shot, which was the most sure, could not be obtained, so the hunter fired at the head of the animal, aiming for a spot between the eyes. The ball struck high, as is usually the case when the distance is short, and the charge of powder heavy, but the Lion fell over on its back, rising, however, almost immediately and uttering a terrific roar.

In regaining its feet it turned its side to the hunter, giving him the opportunity he had so anxiously waited for. Aiming at a spot behind the shoulder, he fired again, and had the satisfaction of seeing the savage beast, maddened by the pain of a mortal wound, tearing up the ground in its fury within a very few paces of his hiding-place.

By degrees its fierce roars subsided into angry growls, and the growls into heavy moans, until the terrible voice was hushed and silence reigned throughout the wood.

The hunter immediately started off home, and brought his negroes and dogs to the spot, where they found stretched dead upon the ground a Lion of the largest size.

Before sunset that evening its skin was pegged down at the hunter's camp, and all were filled with delight, knowing that they would be no more disturbed by the fierce marauder.

The Leopard

The Leopard not often mentioned in the Scriptures—its attributes exactly described—Probability that several animals were classed under the name—How the Leopard takes its prey—Craft of the Leopard—its ravages among the flocks—The empire of man over the beast—The Leopard at Bay—Localities wherein the Leopard lives—The skin of the Leopard—Various passages of Scripture explained.

Of the Leopard but little is said in the Holy Scriptures.

In the New Testament this animal is only mentioned once, and then in a metaphorical rather than a literal sense. In the Old Testament it is casually mentioned seven times, and only in two places is the word Leopard used in the strictly literal sense. Yet, in those brief passages of Holy Writ, the various attributes of the animal are delineated with such fidelity, that no one could doubt that the Leopard was familiarly known in Palestine. Its colour, its swiftness, its craft, its ferocity, and the nature of its dwelling-place, are all touched upon in a few short sentences scattered throughout the Old Testament, and even its peculiar habits are alluded to in a manner that proves it to have been well known at the time when the words were written.

It is my purpose in the following pages to give a brief account of the Leopard of the Scriptures, laying most stress on the qualities to which allusion is made, and then to explain the passages in which the name of the animal occurs.

In the first place, it is probable that under the word Leopard are comprehended three animals, two of which, at least, were thought to be one species until the time of Cuvier. These three animals are the Leopard proper (Leopardus varius), the Ounce (Leopardus uncia), and the Chetah, or Hunting Leopard (Gueparda jubata). All these three species belong to the same family of animals; all are spotted and similar in colour, all are nearly alike in shape, and all are inhabitants of Asia, while two of them, the Leopard and the Chetah, are also found in Africa.

It is scarcely necessary to mention that the Leopard is a beast of prey belonging to the cat tribe, that its colour is tawny, variegated with rich black spots, and that it is a fierce and voracious animal, almost equally dreaded by man and beast. It inhabits many parts of Africa and Asia, and in those portions of the country which are untenanted by mankind, it derives all its sustenance from the herb-eating animals of the same tracts.


To deer and antelopes it is a terrible enemy, and in spite of their active limbs, seldom fails in obtaining its prey. Swift as is the Leopard, for a short distance, and wonderful as its spring, it has not the enduring speed of the deer or antelope, animals which are specially formed for running, and which, if a limb is shattered, can run nearly as fast and quite as far on three legs as they can when all four limbs are uninjured. Instinctively knowing its inferiority in the race, the Leopard supplies by cunning the want of enduring speed.

It conceals itself in some spot whence it can see far around without being seen, and thence surveys the country. A tree is the usual spot selected for this purpose, and the Leopard, after climbing the trunk by means of its curved talons, settles itself in the fork of the branches, so that its body is hidden by the boughs, and only its head is shown between them. With such scrupulous care does it conceal itself, that none but a practised hunter can discover it, while any one who is unaccustomed to the woods cannot see the animal even when the tree is pointed out to him.

As soon as the Leopard sees the deer feeding at a distance, he slips down the tree and stealthily glides off in their direction. He has many difficulties to overcome, because the deer are among the most watchful of animals, and if the Leopard were to approach to the windward, they would scent him while he was yet a mile away from them. If he were to show himself but for one moment in the open ground he would be seen, and if he were but to shake a branch or snap a dry twig he would be heard. So, he is obliged to approach them against the wind, to keep himself under cover, and yet to glide so carefully along that the heavy foliage of the underwood shall not be shaken, and the dry sticks and leaves which strew the ground shall not be broken. He has also to escape the observation of certain birds and beasts which inhabit the woods, and which would certainly set up their alarm-cry as soon as they saw him, and so give warning to the wary deer, which can perfectly understand a cry of alarm, from whatever animal it may happen to proceed.

Still, he proceeds steadily on his course, gliding from one covert to another, and often expending several hours before he can proceed for a mile. By degrees he contrives to come tolerably close to them, and generally manages to conceal himself in some spot towards which the deer are gradually feeding their way. As soon as they are near enough, he collects himself for a spring, just as a cat does when she leaps on a bird, and dashes towards the deer in a series of mighty bounds. For a moment or two they are startled and paralysed with fear at the sudden appearance of their enemy, and thus give him time to get among them. Singling out some particular animal, he leaps upon it, strikes it down with one blow of his paw, and then, couching on the fallen animal, he tears open its throat, and laps the flowing blood.


In this manner does it obtain its prey when it lives in the desert, but when it happens to be in the neighbourhood of human habitations, it acts in a different manner. Whenever man settles himself in any place, his presence is a signal for the beasts of the desert and forest to fly. The more timid, such as the deer and antelope, are afraid of him, and betake themselves as far away as possible. The more savage inhabitants of the land, such as the lion, leopard, and other animals, wage an unequal war against him for a time, but are continually driven farther and farther away, until at last they are completely expelled from the country. The predaceous beasts are, however, loth to retire, and do so by very slow degrees. They can no longer support themselves on the deer and antelopes, but find a simple substitute for them in the flocks and herds which man introduces, and in the seizing of which there is as much craft required as in the catching of the fleeter and wilder animals. Sheep and goats cannot run away like the antelopes, but they are penned so carefully within inclosures, and guarded so watchfully by herdsmen and dogs, that the Leopard is obliged to exert no small amount of cunning before it can obtain a meal.

Sometimes it creeps quietly to the fold, and escapes the notice of the dogs, seizes upon a sheep, and makes off with it before the alarm is given. Sometimes it hides by the wayside, and as the flock pass by it dashes into the midst of them, snatches up a sheep, and disappears among the underwood on the opposite side of the road. Sometimes it is crafty enough to deprive the fold of its watchful guardian. Dogs which are used to Leopard-hunting never attack the animal, though they are rendered furious by the sound of its voice. They dash at it as if they meant to devour it, but take very good care to keep out of reach of its terrible paws. By continually keeping the animal at bay, they give time for their master to come up, and generally contrive to drive it into a tree, where it can be shot.

But instances have been known where the Leopard has taken advantage of the dogs, and carried them off in a very cunning manner. It hides itself tolerably near the fold, and then begins to growl in a low voice. The dogs think that they hear a Leopard at a distance, and dash towards the sound with furious barks and yells. In so doing, they are sure to pass by the hiding-place of the Leopard, which springs upon them unawares, knocks one of them over, and bounds away to its den in the woods. It does not content itself with taking sheep or goats from the fold, but is also a terrible despoiler of the hen-roosts, destroying great numbers in a single night when once it contrives to find its way into the house.


As an instance of the cunning which seems innate in the Leopard, I may mention that whenever it takes up its abode near a village, it does not meddle with the flocks and herds of its neighbours, but prefers to go to some other village at a distance for food, thus remaining unsuspected almost at the very doors of the houses.

In general, it does not willingly attack mankind, and at all events seems rather to fear the presence of a full-grown man. But, when wounded or irritated, all sense of fear is lost in an overpowering rush of fury, and it then becomes as terrible a foe as the lion himself. It is not so large nor so strong, but it is more agile and quicker in its movements; and when it is seized with one of these paroxysms of anger, the eye can scarcely follow it as it darts here and there, striking with lightning rapidity, and dashing at any foe within reach. Its whole shape seems to be transformed, and absolutely to swell with anger; its eyes flash with fiery lustre, its ears are thrown back on the head, and it continually utters alternate snarls and yells of rage. It is hardly possible to recognise the graceful, lithe glossy creature, whose walk is so noiseless, and whose every movement is so easy, in the furious passion-swollen animal that flies at every foe with blind fury, and pours out sounds so fierce and menacing that few men, however well armed, will care to face it.

As is the case with most of the cat tribe, the Leopard is an excellent climber, and can ascend trees and traverse their boughs without the least difficulty. It is so fond of trees, that it is seldom to be seen except in a well-wooded district. Its favourite residence is a forest where there is plenty of underwood, at least six or seven feet in height, among which trees are sparingly interspersed. When crouched in this cover it is practically invisible, even though its body may be within arm's length of a passenger. The spotted body harmonizes so perfectly with the broken lights and deep shadows of the foliage that even a practised hunter will not enter a covert in search of a Leopard unless he is accompanied by dogs. The instinct which teaches the Leopard to choose such localities is truly wonderful, and may be compared with that of the tiger, which cares little for underwood, but haunts the grass jungles, where the long, narrow blades harmonize with the stripes which decorate its body.


The skin of the Leopard has always been highly valued on account of its beauty, and in Africa, at the present day, a robe made of its spotted skin is as much an adjunct of royalty as is the ermine the emblem of judicial dignity in England. In more ancient times, a leopard skin was the official costume of a priest, the skin being sometimes shaped into a garment, and sometimes thrown over the shoulders and the paws crossed over the breast.

Such is a general history of the Leopard. We will now proceed to the various passages in which it is mentioned, beginning with its outward aspect.

In the first place, the Hebrew word Namer signifies spotted, and is given to the animal in allusion to its colours. The reader will now see how forcible is the lament of Jeremiah, Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the Leopard his spots? Literally, Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the spotted one his spots?

The agility and swiftness of the Leopard are alluded to in the prediction by the prophet Habakkuk of the vengeance that would come upon Israel through the Chaldeans. In chap. i. 5, we read: I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling-places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful; their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. Their horses also are swifter than the Leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves.

The craftiness of the Leopard, and the manner in which it lies in wait for its prey, are alluded to in more than one passage of Holy Writ. Hosea the prophet alludes to the Leopard in a few simple words which display an intimate acquaintance with the habits of this formidable animal, and in this part of his prophecies he displays that peculiar local tone which distinguishes his writings. Speaking of the Israelites under the metaphor of a flock, or a herd, he proceeds to say: According to their pasture so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me. Therefore I will be unto them as a lion, as a Leopard by the way will I observe them. The reader will note the peculiar force of this sentence, whereby God signifies that He will destroy them openly, as a lion rushes on its prey, and that he will chastise them unexpectedly, as if it were a Leopard crouching by the wayside, and watching for the flock to pass, that it may spring on its prey unexpectedly. The same habit of the Leopard is also alluded to by Jeremiah, who employs precisely the same imagery as is used by Habakkuk. See Jer. v. 5, 6, These have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities. It is evident from the employment of this image by two prophets, the one being nearly a hundred years before the other, that the crafty, insidious habits of the Leopard were well known in Palestine, and that the metaphor would tell with full force among those to whom it was addressed.

The Cat

The Cat never mentioned by name in the canonical Scriptures, and only once in the Apocrypha—The Cat domesticated among the Egyptians, and trained in bird-catching—Neglected capabilities of the Cat—Anecdote of an English Cat that caught fish for her master—Presumed reason why the Scriptures are silent about the Cat—The Cat mentioned by Baruch.

It is a very remarkable circumstance that the word Cat is not once mentioned in the whole of the canonical Scriptures, and only once in the Apocrypha.

The Egyptians, as is well known, kept Cats domesticated in their houses, a fact which is mentioned by Herodotus, in his second book, and the 66th and 67th chapters. After describing the various animals which were kept and fed by this nation, he proceeds to narrate the habits of the Cat, and writes as follows: When a fire takes place, a supernatural impulse seizes the cats. For the Egyptians, standing at a distance, take care of the cats and neglect to quench the fire; but the cats make their escape, and leaping over the men, cast themselves into the fire, and when this occurs, great lamentations are made among the Egyptians. In whatever house a cat dies of a natural death, all the family shave their eyebrows. All cats that die are carried to certain sacred houses, where, after being embalmed, they are buried in the city of Bubastis.

Now, as many of those cat-mummies have been discovered in good preservation, the species has been identified with the Egyptian Cat of the present day, which is scientifically termed Felis maniculatus. Not only did the Egyptians keep Cats at their houses, but, as is shown by certain sculptures, took the animals with them when they went bird-catching, and employed them in securing their prey. Some persons have doubted this statement, saying, that in the first place, the Cat is not possessed of sufficient intelligence for the purpose; and that in the second place, as the hunter is represented as catching wild fowl, the Cat would not be able to assist him, because it would not enter the water. Neither objection is valid, nor would have been made by a naturalist.

There are no grounds whatever for assuming that the Cat has not sufficient intelligence to aid its master in hunting. On the contrary, there are many familiar instances where the animal has been trained, even in this country, to catch birds and other game, and bring its prey home. By nature the Cat is an accomplished hunter, and, like other animals of the same disposition, can be taught to use its powers for mankind. We all know that the chetah, a member of the same tribe, is in constant use at the present day, and we learn from ancient sculptures that the lion was employed for the same purpose. Passing from land to water, mankind has succeeded in teaching the seal and the otter to plunge into the water, catch their finny prey, and deliver it to their owners. Among predaceous birds, we have trained the eagle, the falcon, and various hawks, to assist us in hunting the finned and feathered tribes, while

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